Expand Education Facilities
Burke residents are proud of their strong school system, dedicated educators and volunteers, and active and engaged administration. However, many feel that new and expanded facilities are needed to ensure Burke children have what they need to learn and engage in constructive year-round activities. Facilities needs include a gym, middle school classroom space, and a location for a full-day preschool program. A task force could come together to identify and quantify the needs, build a plan for redevelopment, and connect with the community at large to share the opportunity new space could provide, and gauge feasibility for funding and development.
- The Task Force will educate itself about the current state of facilities planning at the school board and meet with the board to offer help.
- Work over time to systematically communicate and educate the community about facilities planning to inform and to build support in the greater community.
- Connect to the Burke Parent Teachers Organization and other groups throughout the community.
- Build a timeline detailing the steps in planning, fund development, and potential community bonding to drive the process forward in a timely way.
- Work with the school board and superintendent to evaluate the articles of agreement in the new school district merger for its implications for debt and school assets.
- Explore the opportunity of designating some of the redevelopment as “multi-use space” for community activities for all ages and the ability to connect to multiple funding sources to support these community uses in the school.
- Consider the integration of services—from health and wellness to daycare or family services as potential opportunities in the project.
- Engage students, and especially 8th Graders to gather their ideas and visions and to expand communications.
- The Superintendent can provide crucial guidance and the Supervisory Union Business Manager can potentially lend critically important help.
- Potential partnerships can be explored with groups ranging from day care to pre-school and senior service groups around inclusion in the project.
- The 8th Grade, with support and facilitation from the UVM Tarrant Institute, can provide vision and lend leadership to the functions and design conversation.
- The Task Force recognizes that there are key leaders who should be involved in sharing ideas, planning, and, potentially, inclusion in the group from the Town Clerk to the manager of Burke Mountain Resort.
- Philanthropy could provide leadership especially for functional parts of the project connecting to day care or services. The Vermont Community Foundation could provide advice about potential sources and strategies.
- Donors could be attracted by naming opportunities for major parts of the project, or for brick by brick names in a prominent place for contributors.
- USDA RD could be helpful in support of the community facilities aspects of the project.
- Ultimately the full community of Burke is the greatest partner in the process…the community owns the school and for the project to succeed the community will need to rally to the next generation of school facilities through a bond vote that covers the majority of the project.